Mardi Gras in Jérémie, Haiti

mardi gras haitiI’m back in Haiti with a great group of PHN undergrad students and grad student Ayla. Today is Mardi Gras, which is a big holiday here in Haiti, and schools and businesses are all closed. But we have put in a full day of work before 2pm. Casimir Alfred, a local nurse attorney, gave us the lecture he presented at the international HIV conference in South Africa re: Jérémie based HIV prevention efforts. We toured the only hospital in town– the sole state-supported hospital in the Grand Anse department, which is always difficult to see with the deplorable conditions — something out of the 18th century, but still an important piece of the health system here so critical for the students to have some understanding of. We toured the Haitian Health Foundation’s Center of Hope that includes kwashiorkor center, maternal waiting home, rehabilitative feeding program, and all the maternal child primary health care. We have had many extreme experiences over the past four days that it is a lot to continually process in one’s mind.  It feels like we have been here at least a week with all we have packed into the days, but overall, the logistics have been quite smooth and spirits are high.